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tv   CBS Morning News  CBS  December 23, 2011 4:00am-4:30am PST

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tax relief. an early christmas gift, as house republicans cave in and agree to extend the payroll tax cut. >> may not have been the politically the smartest thing in the world, but let me tell you what. i think our members waged through a good fight. economic bump. shoppers in the christmas spirit give the economy a boost, as unemployment claims dip. southern storm. extreme holiday weather flips cars over and leaves thousands without power. now the same system stretches into new england. captioning funded by cbs this is the "cbs morning news" for friday, december 23rd, 2011. good morning. thanks for joining us. i'm drew levinson. it appears the partisan
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battle over extending the payroll tax cut is over, at least for now. in the end, house republicans were taking just too much heat from their constituents and their own party. so they have agreed to go along with a short-term extension. both the house and senate are expected to vote today. terrell brown is in washington with the latest. good morning to you, terrell. >> reporter: drew, good morning. you said the key word and that is expected to approve this deal today. republicans still have the opportunity to reject this, although that isn't likely. had this not happened, millions of americans would have been hit in the pockets. millions of americans could be spared a new year tax cut if house republicans fall in line today. >> may not have been the politically the smartest thing in the world, but let me tell you what, i think our members waged a good fight. >> reporter: the gop caved under growing pressure from both parties on thursday, agreeing to accept a two-month extension of payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits. house speaker john boehner informed members in a conference call last night and refusing to take any questions.
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>> sometimes, it's hard to do the right thing and sometimes it's politically difficult to do the right thing. >> reporter: both the house and senate are expected to pass the measure today. it extends the tax breaks and long-term unemployment benefits through february 29th. the agreement marks a victory for president obama. he made the extension an the end of the year priority. even putting off his christmas vacation to hawaii. he applauded the compromise in a statement saying, because of this agreement, every working american will keep his or her tax cut, about a thousand dollars for the average family. that's about $40 in every paycheck. the battle isn't over yet. as part of the agreement lawmakers will try to hammer out a year-long deal when they come back in january. >> let us hope we can turn the page and start working together for the good of the american people in 2012. >> reporter: but with the same congress returning in the new year, some fear the gridlock will only continue. and the talk here in washington is just that, with this being an
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election year, some think the tense atmosphere in washington will continue to be tense for some time to come, drew. >> as you look at this, who are the winners and losers in all of this? >> reporter: i think the clear-cut winner you can say is certainly president obama. remember, this payroll tax extension was the centerpiece of his campaigning. he was trying to drum up support for that and he won the image battle painting republicans being out for the rich and not looking out for the middle class. a winner for this, had the deal not gone through, consumer confidence would have certainly gone down. losers, you could say john boehner showing weak in the rank of the house debating between tee party republicans and when it comes to tea party republicans. and when it comes to tea party republicans, they could be losers in this case too, showing they are too rebellious and note will to compromise. >> certainly interesting to watch all week long. terrell brown in washington, thank you. the latest news on the economy is that it's showing signs of ife. the number of americans filing for unemployment benefits last week, dropped to 364,000.
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that is the fewest number in two and a half years. as anthony mason reports, consumers are in a holiday groove. >> reporter: the mood at the mall is brightening. >> i guess i'm more in that christmas spirit this year. >> thank you. >> reporter: this past saturday, shoppers spent $26 billion. >> feeling great! >> reporter: a record for the last full saturday before christmas. >> so i'm spending more on others and more on myself. >> reporter: in atlanta, shoppers like bobby duffield are confirming what surveys show that consumers are feeling better about the economy. >> this year, people seem more confident about the future. >> reporter: employers are more confident too. in your gut, how do you feel about the u.s. economy? >> i feel the u.s. economy is getting better. >> reporter: steve tiffens' long island company makes camera filters. are you hiring? >> we have taken the approach to increase our temporary staff. >> reporter: he has added 20
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temporary workers this year, a 10% increase. but he wants the situation in europe and washington to stabilize. >> then we will start putting more permanent people on. >> reporter: weekly first-time unemployment claims have been falling. steadily for the past month and are now well below 400,000. it looks like we are past the threat of another recession. >> absolutely. >> reporter: economist ellen ventner predicts the economy will grow 2.3% next year. in terms of bringing down the unemployment rate, is that enough? >> the economy really needs to get well beyond a 2 1/2% growth rate, closer to 3, 3 1/2 even to bring the unemployment rate down meaningfully and it's not growth you can get very excited about, but it's better. >> anthony mason, cbs news, new york. on the cbs "moneywatch," it might be a good time to refinance. mortgages have hit an all-time low. ashley morrison is here in new york with that and more. good morning, ashley. >> good morning to you, drew. >> reporter: stocks in asia were mixed today.
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tokyo's nikkei down 0.8% and hong kong hang sang finished higher by 1.3%. on wall street, the dow gained nearly 62 points yesterday and the nasdaq finished higher by 21 points. also overseas, the italian parliament approved $39 billion austerity package and the deal includes tax hikes and changes in pensions intended to help italy pay off its $2.5 trillion debt. mortgage rates hit another record low. freddie mac says the average rate on a 30-year fixed loan dropped to a record 3.91% this week. that is the third time this year that mortgage rates have hit new lows. well, holiday trouble for some best buy customers. with christmas now just hours away, the giant electronics retailer says it won't be able to fill some online orders. best buy blames overwhelming demand for orders made in november and december. but, drew, these last hours before christmas can be a good time to shop. many retailers are just slashing prices.
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discounts across entire stores are more prevalent this year, "the new york times" is reporting. for instance, half off at ann taylor and 60% off at the gap. the bad news, all this means merchants may be stuck with too much merchandise. and i know yesterday, i hit it big. i came home with four huge bags! now my problem is how am i going to get it on the flight? >> i'm sure you'll figure a way. >> try. >> ashley morrison in new york, thank you very much. cleanup is under way in northern georgia. a powerful storm packing winds around 60 miles an hour moved in yesterday, causing tremendous damage. part of a brick wall collapsed. two people were injured from flying glass. many were forced to take cover. >> the door got blown in and there is some glass flying around and -- but everybody was okay in there and nobody was hurt. >> meanwhile, it will be a white
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christmas in denver, which has been hit by an early winter snowstorm. more than a hundred flights were canceled yesterday at denver' airport. 70-mile-an-hour winds blew through parts of southern california and more expected today. the powerful santa ana winds uprooted trees and overturned trucks. some customers lost power. in iraq, days after u.s. troops left, a series of deadly bombings in baghdad. at least 16 blasts exploded yesterday, killing at least 69 people, wounding more than 200. the white house condemned the attack and says attempts to derail the peace progress will fail. u.s. relations with pakistan may be reaching critical mass. last month, a u.s. air strike killed about two dozen pakistan soldiers. the pentagon admits mistakes were made. but pakistan rejects the admission and is not allowing supplies for nato troops to cross the border. bob orr reports. >> reporter: this was the morning after the american-led air strikes, which killed 26 pakistani soldiers and pushed
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relations with pakistan to a breaking point. military investigators blame the friendly fire incident on miscommunications. in a long-standing distrust between the u.s. and pakistan. the incident happened november 25th along the afghanistan/pakistan border. four helicopters dropped 120 coalition troops on a mission to clear a nearby village. u.s. commanders had been told pakistan had no border posts in that area, but suddenly the troops came under heavy fire from a ridge top bunker. u.s. war planes were called in to drop flares. a signal to the gunners in the bunkers they were firing on u.s. and afghan commandos. when that firing continuing, they concluded they were facing insurgent enemy forces and air strikes were ordered. over two hours, there were three separate firefights with u.s. war planes striking two pakistani border outposts. pentagon investigators conceded the battle was prolonged by mistakes. u.s. forces relied on inaccurate
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maps and commanders did not tell the pakistanis the precise location of coalition troops, saying past missions had been compromised when battle plans had been shared. pakistan military officials disagree with the pentagon's key finding that pakistani troops fired first and they call the report overall short on facts. but pakistan did not participate in the investigation. bob orr, cbs news, washington. a strong earthquake rattled new zealand this morning. the 5.8 magnitude quake shook the city of christchurch. but there were no injuries or major damage. residents are still nervous from the quake that killed 182 people back in february. coming up on "the morning news," the unanswered question of the article 32 hearing of bradley manning. plus a massive fire rips through an apartment complex in san francisco. ♪
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through an apartment complex in san francisco yesterday. the five alarm fire left 60 people homeless. because of the high winds, it took firefighters three hours to get the blaze under control. a total of 32 dwellings were destroyed. the article 32 hearing for army private bradley manning is over. the decision due by january 16th on whether he should face a court-martial for leaking u.s. classified files. chersharyl attkisson reports. >> reporter: 24-year-old bradley manning wore an awkward smile as he was returned to confinement. the army intelligence analyst had just heard prosecutors accuse him of betraying his country and handing masses of national secrets to the internet website wikileaks. in all, prosecutors say manning pulled 100,000 documents from a supposedly secure computer network, although he signed agreements to protect government secrets.
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the hearing last a week and was the first step in deciding whether manning should face a court-martial. manning authorities blame superiors who allowed him to access classified data, despite severe emotional warning signs. witnesses testified he was broken to violent outbursts and struggled with being a gay soldier with beliefs he had multiple personalities and was a woman trapped in a man's body. supporters for manning have stood outside the gates at ft. mead, maryland. they say the leaked material pdidn't hurt anyone and, in fac, exposed war crimes, but aided the enemy, prosecutors used this video. it shows the notorious american al qaeda operative adam gadahn touting sites like wikileaks as helpful on the war in the west. >> enemy interests today are spread all over the place and easily accessible. >> reporter: did the army fail a troubled young soldier? did he fail his country? or both. the presiding officer will have until january 16th to decide whether manning face court-martial. sharyl attkisson, cbs news, the pentagon. thousands of grave markers
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at arlington national cemetery may need to be replaced or corrected. the army reported to congress thursday that potential mistakes involved about 64,000 grave markers. last year, misidentified and misplaced graves were found. this report mostly found incorrect spellings and other minor errors. straight ahead, your friday morning weather. and in sports, the colts make a last-minute desperate drive against the texans to win their second game. win their second game. i habe a cohd. yeah, i toog nyguil bud i'm stild stubbed up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't un-stuff your nose. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your stuffy nose. [ deep breath ] thank you! that's the cold truth!
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here's a look at the weather in some cities around the country. time now for a check on the national forecast. the latest satellite picture shows rain and snow across the southeast and northeast. it's also snowing in the southwest. the west coast has mainly clear skies. later today, the snow over new mexico will slowly wind down, but not after a few inches pile up on the mexican border. snow is also coming into the western great lakes area. and winds across southern california will still be gusty, up to 40 miles an hour across some areas. well, in sports, almost a christmas miracle. the colts won their second game. with just over a minute left, down by four against the texans, the colts reggie wayne catches a
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pass for a 20-yard gain and then he catches a 1-yard pass from dan orlovsky for the game winning score. colts over the texans 1-16. the nfl has been hit with a lawsuit over concussions. former running back jamaal lewis and three other former players say the brain injuries they received when playing has left them struggling with serious medical problems years after they retired. they also claim the league hid the dangers for years. the nfl says it has always made player safety a priority. in college football, a blowout in the bowl in las vegas. on the opening kickoff, boise state doug martin ran the ball back for a touchdown against arizona state and in the words of done meredith, turn out the lights! the broncos were unstoppable. boise state rolls over the sun devils 56-24. when we return, another look at this morning's top stories. and why former presidential candidate john edwards wants to delay his criminal trial.
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coming up - the residents wo lost nearly everything. ande on the damage left behind. plus new funding to fight ce in the bay area. the criminl benefactor behind the big donation. and today is one of the bigt travel days of the year. how many people are expected ine skies and on the roads... al trying to make it home for e holidays. join us for cbs 5 early edin ... beginning at 4:30. moving forward with a plan o
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on the "cbs morning news," here's a look at today's weather. rain and snow will quickly come to an end in the northeast. a big snow maker in new mexico bringing snow all the way to the mexican border. it's chilly across the midwest. here is another look at this morning's top stories. the house buckled under intense pressure and now has agreed to a two-month extension to the payroll tax cut. many in washington call this a victory for president obama. powerful winds caused major damage in northern georgia yesterday. thousands lost power. at least two people were injured from flying glass. john edwards is asking for another delay in his criminal trial. his attorneys say he has a medical condition and wants to push back the trial by at least two months. it's supposed to start at the end of january. edwards is accused of using campaign funds to hide his pregnant girlfriend during the
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2008 campaign. in california, hospital officials say the nurses who staged a one-day strike yesterday won't be allowed back to work today. the nurses formed picket lines outside nine hospitals in los angeles and san francisco. they are protesting health care costs and sick leave. a new and detailed report confirms the washington monument won't be able to open any time soon. inspectors repelled down the monument after the 5.82 magnitude quake struck in august. they found considerable cracking and loose stones. the washington monument is closed to visitors indefinite. about 30 ice fishermen in northern minnesota know what cold comfort is. they were rescued by hover craft on wednesday after being stranded for hours when a huge piece of ice broke from shore. there were no injuries reported. this morning, on "the early show," a look at how bad the weather could be across the country this holiday weekend. i'm drew levinson. and this is the "cbs orning news."
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a federal judge has blocked several parts of south carolina's tough new immigration law from taking effect new year's day. it's the latest pushback against a number of new state initiated immigration laws. the u.s. supreme court is expected to rule on a challenge to a similar law in arizona in the coming year. the iowa caucuses are 11 days away for the republican candidates campaigning there. the major issue is the nation's troubled economy. barr petersen reports on the increasing numbers of people who need help. >> reporter: it is no surprise that the urban four line up at the downtown des moines food bank. the surprise is here. in the upscale suburb of urbandale where the need is skyrocketing. the number of families coming here is up 80% over last year.
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to food bank director elizabeth ballstat, it means more and more in iowa's middle class are falling into the underclass. what is the new face of hunger here in des moines? >> the new face of hunger is, you know, people who are my friends, my neighbors, people who literally are living paycheck to paycheck. >> reporter: the need has grown so much that today's food stocks won't keep up with demand. which means less food for people like elizabeth slicener. every month, she can get one allotment of food, and with the cutbacks, that means one can of beans instead of two. she stretches the food for her 14-year-old son keaton by going hungry herself. >> i'm just trying to do the best i can and a lot of people are in the same position that i'm in. >> reporter: she's been struggling since she lost her well paying sales position three years ago and in october, lost her most recent job.
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that's when she put her pride aside and went to the food bank for help. >> when i got in my car and i just sat there and i started crying. it was just a combination of a little bit of despair, but also a feeling of relief that they gave me all this food that i could bring home. is that all of the fresh vegetables then? >> reporter: but even these meager supplies may dwindle as the christmas season passes and donations slow down even more. >> maybe you don't know that your neighbor is me that's going to the food bank. i want people to know i'm not embarrassed that i'm in the position. it is what it is. >> reporter: she's recently applied for 25 jobs and she started volunteering at the food bank, helping others in a place that means so much to her. barry petersen, cbs news, des moines. coming up a little later on "the early show," a look ahead to the battle over the payroll tax in february now that republicans have backed down.
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plus, a live report from honolulu as president obama gets ready to join his family on vacation. and actor, lawyer, and political commentator ben stein gives us his unique perspective on christmas. that's the "cbs morning news" for this friday. thank you for watching. i'm drew levinson. have a great day and holiday! -- captions by vitac --
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